We caught up with local wedding photographer and #llbabe Arden Wray to talk the ins and outs of her craft and what's on the horizon for her new venture Ace of Cups.
1. Tell us about your background and how you got into wedding photography?
I’ve always been primarily a portrait and fashion photographer. You can see my full portfolio at ardenwray.com. I do editorial work for magazines and shoot for brands, but the root of everything I do is in capturing beautiful, natural moments. A few times a year, people would write to me and ask if I’d consider shooting their wedding. I started saying yes and learned that I really, really loved it. Weddings are a good fit for the way I shoot everything – natural, candid, intimate. I’m a relentless romantic and so I love the process. I genuinely enjoy getting to know my couples, seeing the look on their faces when they see their partner for the first time that day, listening to their vows, all of it. It makes me feel so good.
My work in weddings grew exponentially from the first few I did in a very organic way. I’d shoot a wedding, then the next season that couple’s friends would see the pictures and approach me for their own wedding, and it continued on from there. I’ve been lucky enough to work my way through a few different circles of friends over the past few years which has been SO fun. Shooting weddings has always been under-the-radar and almost accidental for me, until recently. I only just last month launched my first-ever official wedding website – Ace of Cups
. I’ve partnered with my love Matt Cully, who is an amazing DJ and musician, and we’re offering music + photography packages. We found the same couples were booking us both independently anyhow – not knowing we
were a couple – and decided to officially join forces in this way. It’s so fun. I’m very excited about it.
2. What is your signature aesthetic and speciality?
At the heart of everything, I love capturing natural, joyful moments. To that end, for example, I like using a huge lens during cocktail hour so I can spy on shy family members and catch them smiling. I know that sounds creepy – and it kind of is – but trust me, it works! I also love doing really glam editorial-style portraits of my couples: you dropped a lot on that outfit (or put some serious hours into thrifting it, if not) and you look possibly the most gorgeous you ever have, so I want to make sure I immortalize that moment in your life in the best way possible. Beyond that, nature is an important element for me. I shine my best in daylight and a natural environment.
3. Who are your dream clients?
So, here’s how I think about weddings: there are two individuals going about living their own separate lives every day on this huge, wild planet for however-many-years and at some point, somehow, those lives intersect. And these people, against all the odds, decide that from now on, they want their two separate lives to be spent together. They write to their families & friends and share this news. And their community comes together - sometimes across great distances, in illness, in old age - to join this couple and to be joyful with them. To eat and dance and sing and give speeches and clink glasses and celebrate that these two people that they love have found their person in this world. That’s the purest thing. It’s timeless and profound. That gets me.
What I love is being a part of celebrations that are truly centered in love and gratitude. I’ve worked with couples that are gay, straight, orthodox Jewish, Hindu and Sikh, already grandparents, in sneakers, in couture, wallflowers, and party girls. The whole spectrum! Matt and I have a line on our website: “love is love, and love is the best.” That’s exactly how we both feel. So, my dream clients are just really in love and really happy about it – whatever form that takes.
4. What is your favourite wedding moment to capture?
My favourite moment in a typical day tends to be right when the ceremony finishes. The couple has just kissed, maybe, and they turn to face their community. That’s the best for me. They’ve got these huge, happy eyes and they’re radiant. I love it. I love catching couples leaving their ceremony and especially – if I can – when they go to hug their closest family and friends right after.
I also love doing a first look. The raw emotion of that moment cuts through any potential awkwardness couples might feel about being photographed, and it’s such a special thing to document.
5. Film? Digital? or Video?
6.What's next for Arden Wray?
Shooting more fun, beautiful weddings with a really great soundtrack c/o one heck of a handsome and talented DJ.